Probably you have tasted these cookies in Chinese restaurant or in any Chinese bakery. The shiny glazed cookie with the blanched almond on top is crispy and light.
It was on my try list. While searching for this recipe, I bumped on many recipes using lard for fat content. I was surprised seeing lard used for baking Authentic Chinese cookies!
After a quick search I found: China raise more pigs than cattle. Dairy products were limited or rarely available for them. Only recently, the country made mandatory that every kid should drink at least one cup of milk everyday. Obviously all dairy product were not common in olden days! They ended up using lard everywhere.
Ok, if you are purist, probably looking for an authentic taste, you are not at the right page! Yes, these cookies are lighter (less fatter than usual) and prepared into Vegan way! I bet this one taste far better than the Chinese restaurant and never regret of trying this vegan version. Unless you want to spike your cholesterol level.
These cookies have the sandy texture and the most important fairly easy to put together.
It would be such a great Vegan gift for up coming Holiday time.
How to make the almond meal / flour?
Almond flour is ground up almond. The flour is made with blanched almond and almond meal is either blanched or not. The flour or meal is usually coarse not like fine powder.
Blanch the almond first.
How to blanch almond ?
Take a microwave safe bowl, add the almonds and enough water to cover the nuts.
Keep in microwave for 1 minutes, until the water turns hot.
Let the almond soak for 10 minutes.
Now slightly squeeze the nut, the outer skin should come out easily. If not keep another min in microwave and let it soak for few more minutes.
Once the almond is blanched. Let it dry in paper towel to remove all the excess moisture.
Put the blanched almonds in mixer and pulse into the desire consistency. Keep little coarse, if you run the powder too long, you end up making almond butter.
I halved the original recipe: My modification: added almond meal, subst with vegetable shortening and skip the egg. The outcome was super crunchy and tasty cookie.
Yield: Makes about 24 cookies
Vegetable shortening: 1/2 cup (room temperature)
Sugar : 1/2 cup
Almond extract : 1/4 teaspoon
Almond meal: 1/4 cup
All-purpose flour : 1 cup
Baking powder : 1/2 teaspoon
To decorate the cookie
Blanched whole almonds : 24 counts
Sesame seeds :1 tablespoons
1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the vegetable shortening, almond extract and sugar until smooth.Stir or beat in the almond flour+AP flour and baking powder until well blended. You can chill the dough for 30 minutes but the dough will not firm because of vegetable shortening!
2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, flatten each slightly, and place each about 1 inch apart on buttered or cooking parchment-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.
3. Press an almond into the center of each cookie and sprinkle each with about 1/8 teaspoon sesame seeds.
4. Bake cookies in a 325° oven until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.